A Geisha with an open fan

Geishas for Enlightened Motherhood

In the Meiji period, geisha embraced the nation’s modernizing project, helping to improve education for women and promoting a western-style domestic ideal.
Radiation Effects Research Foundation Hiroshima

Biobanking the Victims of Nuclear War

Nearly 2 million biological samples from people affected by radiation from World War II nuclear bombings are stored in facilities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The exterior of the concept design home "Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA: In Memory of Helen Keller" is seen on October 27, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan.

Arakawa and Gins: An Eternal Architecture

With the Reversible Destiny Foundation, architect-philosophers Arakawa and Gins created disquieting designs meant to defeat mortality.
Jizō, c. 1202

A Bodhisattva for Japanese Women

Originally known in China as Dizāng, the “savior of the damned,” Jizō has evolved into a protector of children and comforter of women in Japan.
Four versions of Hokusai's Great Wave, from the Art Institute of Chicago, LACMA, Tokyo National Museum, and British Museum

Under Hokusai’s Great Wave

Hokusai’s watery woodblock print is such a common sight that most people tend to look past the peril at its center.
Japan Airlines Air Hostesses, 1951

The Ban on Japanese Aircraft Pilots, 1945–1952

The defeated Japanese weren’t allowed to pilot, own, build, or even research airplanes during the post-World War II occupation by the United States.

Country Roads and City Scenes in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Explore two centuries of printmaking—from Hokusai and Hiroshige through Hiratsuka—in this online collection shared by Boston College.
A 1914 postcard featuring Santa Claus in Japan

Christmastime in 1960s Japan

In the years following World War II, the Japanese people looked to Santa Claus as a symbol of not just kindness and beneficence, but of modernity.
Japanese swordswoman in a duel, 1845

Onna-Bugeisha, the Female Samurai Warriors of Feudal Japan

In 1868 a group of female samurai took part in the fierce Battle of Aizu for the very soul of Japan.
Nakagin Capsule Tower in 2021

Tearing Down Nakagin Capsule Tower

Japanese Metabolists argued that architecture should be adaptable, changing as a city changed. Why, then, is this icon of Metabolism being dismantled?